Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Old Idea Still Working

        There's a linky party over at What the Teacher Wants 
-- click on the link for more great behavior management ideas!

             One of my favorite things to teach is writing -- but not handwriting. (How many times do I have to demonstrate the right way to make a letter!!) With this year's huge class of 27, I've had a hard time getting any "silent" writing going.  They are a very talkative bunch, and any silence we have doesn't last long.  I ask them for 5 minutes of totally silent writing, so everyone has a chance to think without interruption.  Today I remembered an idea I used many years ago when I had a little bear called "Mr. Goodbear -- he would sit on the neatest table in a class I taught about 20 years ago.
We use the Letterland phonics program in our county, and each letter of the alphabet has a character.  Z is "Zig-Zag Zebra".  She is a very shy little zebra, and she doesn't like noise.  I bought a little zebra at Dollar Tree a few years ago, and I happened to notice it today as we were doing the Writer's Workshop lesson.  I waited until I caught one group working quietly, and I put the zebra on their table.I told them that she didn't like noise, and she would not stay if anyone talked.  It worked like a charm!!  Suddenly the whole room was quiet!  Zig-Zag Zebra got to visit every table before the writing time was over == it was amazing!
           There were several children writing actual words today -- sight words and words they copied from the bulletin board/word wall. That is always exciting for me.  Some are starting to draw more detailed pictures -- not just a head with legs coming out of it. We have a LONG way to go, but i little bit of silence is a wonderful thing at the end of a long day.
        The other exciting accomplishment was when one boy wrote an actual sentence without help -- and even drew a picture that matched the words -- yay!! And spelled words correctly! There is hope!!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Daily 5, Day 23, and 27 Children

                We have been in school for a month now -- and I'm finally starting to feel like we might be      able to make it.  There are signs today...

  • No one crying -- not even ME when they brought me a new student- who can't write his name
  • We actually got a compliment on our quiet line in the hall -- and it was a LONG line
  • I reorganized the reading/intervention groups and we finally got through ALL 5 of them before lunch
  • No one dropped their lunch tray
  • We had 3  rotations with 3 groups "reading to self" or "working on writing" independently while "Mrs. Awesome" ( my assistant -- name given by a former student) and I worked with the other 2 small groups for about 20 minutes during each rotation. WOOHOO!!
  • 2 girls chose copies of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear: and reread it together -- from memory, mostly -- hardly missed a word
  • They worked mostly by themselves on the math Investigation today -- counting dots on the dice and writing the numbers
  • Many wrote words that I could actually read in their journals -- one even wrote a complete sentence with a period at the end!
  • My graph of "letter sounds recognition" showed huge gains for nearly everyone.
  • I didn't have to take a nap after school
  • We finally got our math workbooks and used them for the first time.
  • Instead of saying "I'm done, now what?" -- they are asking, "Can I get a book to read?"  I love those words!   
                     I am so thankful for the Daily 5 book and the Whole Brain Teaching website and "Next Steps in Guided Reading" and the "ESGI" computerized assessment and Letterland and all the things I have found on the teaching blogs -- especially Heidisongs -- and Teachers Pay Teachers. Notice I didn't say "All the things I learned in college." That was too long ago -- and we didn't even have computers back then.  But I have learned a LOT since then!  Most of all, I am thankful for supportive co-workers, praying friends, and an understanding family.  They never complain when I work late and tie up the computer for hours -- or even when I don't cook supper or do their laundry. They pitch in and take care of themselves so I can spend as much time as I need to on school stuff.  I am blessed!
                  And I think we are going to make it after all --

Saturday, September 8, 2012

NC Teacher Bloggers and the Ultimate Linky Party

teaching blog addict
                                                 Click here on "Teaching with Z" to link up

I have found so many great ideas from other teacher bloggers since I became an addict started reading -- and writing -- teacher blogs.  And like "Teaching with Z," I looked at the pictures and stories of bloggers who were meeting up this summer in New York and Texas and Las Vegas -- and wished there was an event a little closer to home in NC.  So I am happy to add my little blog to the list of NC teachers -- and look forward to a NC meet-up sometime!

                                           And look what else I found today! Just click on

Click here!
                                                               ultimate linky party